Thursday, February 19, 2004

Crossfire in the Culture Wars

In the ongoing ascent of the neo-Confederate movement, one of the key battlefields has been in one of the nation's oldest heritage groups, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which has a history of sincere devotion to preserving Southern heritage, largely free of racist tint.

In recent years, however, neo-Confederate extremists, mostly from the secessionist League of the South, have been striving through a war of attrition to take control of the group. It bubbled up recently in this Orlando Sentinel piece [registration required]:
Racist accusations roil heritage group

As the story documents, a lot of longtime leaders and members are fleeing the SCV in droves because of this gradual takeover:
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, Hilderman insists, is being taken over by racists.

"These people are dyed-in-cotton neo-secessionists out to turn the SCV into an extreme right-wing political-action committee," said Hilderman, a retired police captain who lives in Eutawville, S.C.

...Kyle VanLandingham, a sixth-generation Floridian now living in Texas, ended his 25-year membership in the Sons in late 2002.

"The major reason I left the SCV is because it has been infiltrated by racist and bigoted groups, especially the League of the South," he said. "I believe there are many good and honorable people in the SCV, but the radical elements in the organization are growing in influence and power."

The League of the South, as is their wont, soft-pedals its core positions, which include a modern secession by Southern states, as well as a propensity for minority-bashing.

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Report has been tracking this development for awhile now. Their 2003 report, "A House Divided," provides a thorough background for the current dispute. Further reportage from the SPLC can be found here, here and here.

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